During January, CNN’s ‘Marketplace Africa’ programme is featuring four of the biggest global brands in Africa. Each week there is an examination of a brand’s operations on the ground, as it positions itself to appeal to African consumers and deals with the infrastructural and logistical challenges that exist on the continent.
Each episode also has interviews with global CEOs from the companies involved to discuss how their strategy for Africa ties into the overall global strategy of the business.
Kick-starting the series on January 8 was one of the world’s largest fast-food chains, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). With nearly 20 000 restaurants worldwide and more than 1 000 locations on the continent, KFC has the biggest presence of any fast food chain in Africa. Most of the restaurants on the continent are found in South Africa, but the brand is continuing to expand in other countries in the region.
To discover what lies behind KFC’s success, Samuel Burke interviewed Roger Eaton, global CEO of KFC, for the FaceTime element of the programme, and Eleni Giokos reported from Nigeria to see how the brand is building a presence beyond South Africa. In the first episode, Eaton describes what he sees as the most important challenges KFC faces in expanding across Africa, telling ‘Marketplace Africa’: “I think the first most important question is [whether we] can we access the products we need to meet the standards we have. I think that’s absolutely critical. I think the second thing is how we make the food affordable to the consumer in those countries.”
Expansion in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, provides a great opportunity for the brand. Eaton told Burke and ‘Marketplace Africa’: “[Nigeria has] massive population [and] great income levels; [it’s] very exciting.”
In Nigeria, KFC has taken the local approach and created an improvised dish of jollof rice, a spicy dish native to West Africa. From a KFC restaurant in Lagos, KFC’s Africa CEO, Doug Smart, tells CNN that jollof rice is just as important as the fried chicken. “If you take KFC around the world, we look at local content: over here it’s jollof rice; in SA it's a maize porridge called pap. In Kenya we've taken a twist on that and we've taken maize porridge, turned [it] into balls and deep-fried it with the original recipe breading.”
CNN Marketplace Africa airs every Friday at 16:15 on CNN. To watch the first episode on KFC, click on the following link: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/01/11/marketplace-africa-kentucky-fried-chicken-a-spc.cnn